WiFi Advice Please

Soldato
Joined
25 Jan 2003
Posts
9,496
Hi All,

Sorry for what is going to be quite a long post, but i'm absolutely losing my mind with this now. We used to have virgin fibre in our house (modest 3 bed semi - no footballers pad!) and it WiFi signal always left a lot to be desired, very patchy.

When this BT Mesh signal in every room guarantee package came about, we thought we would try it, so for the past 12 months, we have had that. Its been OK but again, upstairs was very patchy, discs working ok one minute, then glowing orange for poor signal the next, and the kids constantly moaning about the WiFi coverage in their room and random disconnects from the internet etc.

I asked my I.T department what they would recommend next. They said that i shouldn't really need 3 mesh discs in a 3 bed house anyway, just get a decent router (Netgear or along those lines) and that should sort things.

BT was up for renewal recently, so I've decided to go back to virgin (100 fibre - £24.99 a month) but this time I took their advice and bought a Netgear Nighthawk D7000 router, which I had read on reviews had transformed peoples Virgin connections. So there i was last night at 9pm, rapidly setting all the kit up so the kids could do their home schooling before BT cuts me off today.

Unfortunately, things are worse! 1 bar of WiFi signal upstairs now and its so bad, that our lad has had to use his mobile phone as a hotspot to connect his computer to the internet so he can use Microsoft Teams!

I'm at a total loss now really. The cables for BT and Virgin enter our house in the very corner of our lounge, so the router and modem are on a table in the corner of our lounge (not sure whether this affects things, being in a corner, but not on the floor, at normal table height) and obviously the signal has to go all round the house, and the lads room is probably the furthest away from the router, but as i say, its a 3 bed semi, not a mansion!

I also have an old PC in the 3rd bedroom at the front of the house (probably positioned just above the router on the 1st floor), that started buffering last night, when its always been fine on BT, so that's clearly not getting a very good signal either.

So i've got Virgin Fibre 100, with a Netgear D7000 router. The 2 desktop PCs are connected to WiFi with TP Link Nano USB adapters (could these be a problem?). I've set to see how the signal is on the lads xbox, but i assume won't be much better.

Does anyone have any suggestions of what to try next. I've tried a variety of providers and a variety of equipment and i have the same problem always - very poor signal in the house apart from the room the router is actually in, and its driving me nuts now. Thought i'd ask the web before i have to pay to get someone in to look at things.

Thank you :)
 
Don
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19 May 2012
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Spalding, Lincolnshire
For most houses, either a single access point in the centre of the upstairs floor, or a single access point upstairs in addition to either a router with wifi (or second access point) downstairs is normally sufficient; Adding an upstairs access point, wired back to your D7000 would likely be the best option, however it's worth looking at other things first:

- What channels are you using for Wifi? "Auto" isn't necessarily the best option - if you are able to see/find out what channels neighbours are using then you can choose a less congested channel
- Do you have separate 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz SSIDs? Shouldn't be needed, but for older devices it can better to have a separate 2.4Ghz SSID. Forcing certain devices onto 2.4Ghz may also help with range/wall penetration (at the expense of speed)


The 2 desktop PCs are connected to WiFi with TP Link Nano USB adapters (could these be a problem?)

They certainly won't help - the aerials are tiny - if you have to use USB adapters then you want one with a full size aerial like the below.
The better option if you have to use Wifi is a PCI-E card with a separate aerial that can be positioned away from the PC Case e.g. like the below (although I wouldn't necessarily spend that much on one).
The best option is obviously wired connections (but appreciate not always an option).

My basket at Overclockers UK:
Total: £87.64 (includes shipping: £8.70)​
 
Soldato
OP
Joined
25 Jan 2003
Posts
9,496
Thanks for replying

These are my wireless settings:
5N5p5dKo.png


i was debating plugging one of these in upstairs: https://www.overclockers.co.uk/tp-link-re205-ac750-wi-fi-range-extender-nw-210-tp.html

On the landing, and seeing if this would help but i'm not sure if it would? I'm not really up on networking but i think i need to learn!
 
Caporegime
Joined
20 Sep 2006
Posts
28,808
This has been covered upteen times recently on here and nearly every answer is the same: put a decent access point centrally in the house, such as the upstairs landing.
 
Soldato
Joined
29 Dec 2002
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6,962
So in simple terms you have the router in a poor position (the corner of the house) and aren’t getting great WiFi as a result.

Cheap option is run a cable to a central location and move the router. Better option is run a cable to the upstairs loft space and fit an AP in the landing ceiling. Repeaters are technically horrible, avoid using them.
 
Soldato
OP
Joined
25 Jan 2003
Posts
9,496
So in simple terms you have the router in a poor position (the corner of the house) and aren’t getting great WiFi as a result.

Cheap option is run a cable to a central location and move the router. Better option is run a cable to the upstairs loft space and fit an AP in the landing ceiling. Repeaters are technically horrible, avoid using them.

Basically yes. In an ideal world, I would have the modem and router in the hallway at the bottom of our stairs, and then an access point, as you say, connected via a cable in the loft, problem is, I don't know how to run these cables without them looking unsightly and a mess! How do people go about running these cables, so they can't be seen day to day
 
Soldato
Joined
6 Dec 2005
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5,169
Location
Cambridge, UK.
Basically yes. In an ideal world, I would have the modem and router in the hallway at the bottom of our stairs, and then an access point, as you say, connected via a cable in the loft, problem is, I don't know how to run these cables without them looking unsightly and a mess! How do people go about running these cables, so they can't be seen day to day

The easiest option would be to just run it on the top of skirting board (use a white cable if you have white skirting) and up and over any door frames.

I wanted mine to look really neat when I wired my house (this was my first go at networking so installation might not be to building regs). I was laying a new floor any way and I was fed up of having poor wifi on the middle and top floor of my town house. The BT master socket is at the opposite corner of the room to my understair cupboard so my coverage was very bad too.

Due to not having upgraded my networking equipment since recently installing CCTV, I have had to temp move my wireless access point to my under stair cupboard (which is a central location on the ground floor). I am receiving 4 of 5 signal strength and speeds of 32 mbit on the top floor (My internet is only 38 mbit any way) but that's ok for my use.

Ground floor (including new flooring)
https://imgur.com/a/O64caQN

Second Middle floor office installation (stage 2)
https://imgur.com/a/bt5E4j0
 
Last edited:
Soldato
Joined
7 Dec 2012
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16,617
Location
Gloucestershire
I'd give the Mesh system another go, if you still have it. Certainly before buying anything else.

It solved all our problems when I installed the BT mini 3-node set - in a 4 bed, 3 storey house. Try to set them up so they're communicating straight through walls (90 degree angle on the signal vs the wall) so that it's not passing through the wall diagonally - or vertically through floors/ceilings is also fine.

It's made a very frustrating time, as the kids started getting older and using more connected devices, so much better.
 
Soldato
OP
Joined
25 Jan 2003
Posts
9,496
The easiest option would be to just run it on the top of skirting board (use a white cable if you have white skirting) and up and over any door frames.

I wanted mine to look really neat when I wired my house (this was my first go at networking so installation might not be to building regs). I was laying a new floor any way and I was fed up of having poor wifi on the middle and top floor of my town house. The BT master socket is at the opposite corner of the room to my understair cupboard so my coverage was very bad too.

Due to not having upgraded my networking equipment since recently installing CCTV, I have had to temp move my wireless access point to my under stair cupboard (which is a central location on the ground floor). I am receiving 4 of 5 signal strength and speeds of 32 mbit on the top floor (My internet is only 38 mbit any way) but that's ok for my use.

Ground floor (including new flooring)
https://imgur.com/a/O64caQN

Second Middle floor office installation (stage 2)
https://imgur.com/a/bt5E4j0

That looks neat. In hindsight, i should have thought about this before we had the whole house skimmed! Doh. Internet just wasn't on my mind then.

I think i'll probably go with something like this approach. I can't use the mesh system as its going back to BT, i can't keep it.

Thank you :)
 
Soldato
Joined
6 Dec 2005
Posts
5,169
Location
Cambridge, UK.
That looks neat. In hindsight, i should have thought about this before we had the whole house skimmed! Doh. Internet just wasn't on my mind then.

I think i'll probably go with something like this approach. I can't use the mesh system as its going back to BT, i can't keep it.

Thank you :)

Depending on how competent you are with DIY. You could always run a cable (or multiple, for future expansion) externally from your living room. If you have any guttering down pipes nearby you could hide the cable behind it and run the cable up to the loft, then ceiling mount a wireless AP in the hall way which should give you excellent coverage.

I did something similar for my CCTV install. Here are 3 cables exiting a 18mm hole from my office. I've used a terminal box and some flexible conduit to keep things looking neat. Everything is hidden behind the guttering after that.

A93XaOOh.jpg
 
Soldato
OP
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25 Jan 2003
Posts
9,496
The cables come in right in the corner of my lounge so all I’d need to go is make the hole in the wall a little larger and run an external cable back outside. No down pipes to help but I’m sure I could work it out.

silly question but would I need weatherproof CAT 6 cable?

Also I took some readings earlier from some more speed tests

So connected with a cable on the laptop on the 5ghz frequency I got

96mbs down
9mbs up
17 MS Ping

I then disconnected the cable and used WiFi only and got slightly better readings but that was sitting right next to the router. I then tried upstairs and the speeds halved and the ping was in the 170s.

The Xbox on the 5ghz frequency had a reading of 20 down, and 2.5mbs up with a ping of 528ms.

So I certainly think an access point upstairs is something I need to do to end the misery of the crap signals by the sound of it
 
Soldato
Joined
13 Jul 2005
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18,056
Location
Norfolk, South Scotland
If you’re running it outdoors then external cable will give you 40-50 years of life. Internal grade cable will degrade in the UV light and the outer coating will start to break down after 5-7 years. So I’d say yes, get the external grade stuff.
 
Soldato
OP
Joined
25 Jan 2003
Posts
9,496
Thank you.

I’ve ordered a decent pci wireless card just to see if it makes any difference to the computer upstairs before I start buying cable. Thought it was worth a go. If it makes no difference , I can return it
 
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